The John Report: WWE Smackdown 1/8/21 Review


Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. There’s a Smackdown Tag Team Title match on this week’s show with The Street Profits defending the titles against Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode while Big E defends the Intercontinental Title against Apollo Crews. Also announced about an hour before the show, there’s a Gauntlet Match with Daniel Bryan, King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura and Rey Mysterio. The winner of that match gets to challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Title at the Royal Rumble on January 31. It sounds like an eventful night to me.

From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1116. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s get to it.

The entrance of Universal Champion Roman Reigns began the show with Jey Uso and Special Counsel Paul Heyman joining Reigns in the ring. This version of Reigns is a very slow walker on his way to the ring. The announcers are Michael Cole and Corey Graves as usual. There were “you suck” chants piped into the stadium.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns said that he likes Kevin Owens. Reigns said that Owens is a pain in the ass, but he likes somebody that is ambitious and keeps coming back. Reigns said that Owens put him in a tough spot, so Roman did what he had to do. Reigns claimed that he loved the whole roster while noting that when you’re the leader, you have to care about everybody there and he cares about their families. Reigns said that he is putting food on everybody’s table around there. Reigns added that now Owens can’t come to work anymore, but it’s not because of him. Reigns said that you should blame WWE Official Adam Pearce, so Reigns told Adam to bring his ass out there.

Adam Pearce entered the ring while asking Reigns what he can do for him. Reigns told Pearce that they’ve got a nice video package for him to watch.

There was a video package showing Reigns beating Owens in a Steel Cage match two weeks ago thanks to Jey handcuffing Owens to the cage. Then last week on Smackdown, Owens asked Pearce to make the match against Jey last week with KO pinning Jey. After the match, Roman and Jey beat up Owens with Reigns tossing Owens off the part of the arena setup and Owens was sent crashing through a table about 15 feet below.

Reigns asked Pearce what he had to say for himself? Pearce wondered what they wanted him to say. Reigns told Pearce to take responsibility for it. Reigns said that he was done with Owens, he wanted to move forward, but what happened, KO went to his friend Pearce. Reigns said you would think somebody who has known a friend for that long would care about their well-being and make the right choice. Reigns said that he knows a lot of things there, but the things they don’t know, that’s why he has Paul there. Reigns said that Pearce is supposed to be managing the talent, making the right decisions and you threw KO right into the shark tank. Reigns added that now KO is not there and he can’t provide for his family. Reigns told Pearce he brought him back this week to redeem himself. Reigns said that now Pearce books a Gauntlet Match? Reigns complained about how he should be able to make the choice for himself. Pearce said he’s trying to put the best challengers in front of Reigns. Roman wondered if Pearce if he would put himself in the Gauntlet Match. Pearce said that would be a conflict of interest. Reigns said it sounds like Pearce thinks he is stupid or a fool. Pearce said that he would never say that while asking what is this? Reigns wondered if that means Vince McMahon is stupid. Pearce said he never said anything like that. Reigns assumed that meant that Pearce was saying Roman Reigns is stupid. Reigns handed the title to Pearce and Reigns said if you’re insulting Reigns then you don’t respect Reigns. Roman said that when people don’t respect him, the family or the bloodline, there are consequences. Reigns put his hands on Pearce’s jacket and Pearce told him to stop while Heyman tried to calm Reigns down. Reigns said his mistake and maybe nobody in this ring is stupid. Reigns said maybe right now, Pearce is perfectly safe. Reigns tapped him on the shoulder and left the ring with his crew while Pearce was left alone in the ring to wonder what was going on.

Analysis: That was a long opening promo segment that went nearly 20 minutes. The story made sense from last week because Reigns made sure he knew it was Pearce that gave Kevin Owens the math with Jey Uso last week even though Reigns wanted to be done with Owens. They are doing a nice job of telling the story week to week. It's about Reigns wanting to be in control of everything. Reigns is an awesome heel that is totally in command of his character and his promo ability has improved a lot as this heel “head of the family” persona. Pearce has slowly been getting more air time as a matchmaker and a guy in charge of talent in an on-screen capacity. I think the storyline works because it shows how controlling Reigns is as the Universal Champion right now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvQGpcRcMvs

Big E vs. Apollo Crews is up next.

(Commercial)

Apollo Crews was already in the ring while the end of Big E’s entrance was shown. This match was set up after Big E did an open challenge in a backstage segment with Crews accepting.

Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Apollo Crews

Crews started with a dropkick for a nearfall and then Big E took him down with a running back elbow. Big E hit a running splash on the edge of the apron. Crews with a kick, then running forearms and Crews with shoulder tackles against the turnbuckle. Crews with a corner splash leading to three German Suplexes for a two count. Big E went to the floor, so Crews hit a moonsault onto a standing Big E to knock the big man down. Back in the ring, Crews got a two count. Crews did a superplex off the ropes, then both guys had their shoulders down in the ring and the referee counted to three. Crews thought he won the match, but the referee did not make the call. It looks like a draw finish into the commercial after about four minutes of action.

(Commercial)

The referee Dan Engler said that it was a draw where both shoulders were down. Big E wanted to touch knuckles, Crews said he didn’t want that and Crews slapped him in the face. Big E told the referee to ring the bell.

Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Apollo Crews (Part Two)

Big E exploded with the belly to belly suplexes, the belly to belly slam and the running splash. Crews avoided the Big Ending, he went to the apron and Crews got a knee up to block a running attack. Crews went up top and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. Crews rolled through for a two count, then a kick to the face and a spinebuster. Crews with a standing moonsault for a two count. Big E rolled through for a two count. Big E slapped on the Stretch Muffler submission on the left knee, but Crews got out of that with a kick to the head. Crews with a jumping kick to the head. Big E countered a move, Crews charged and Big E hit the uranage slam. Big E hit the Big Ending slam for the pinfall after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Big E

Analysis: **1/2 That’s the rating for the two matches. I don’t think they should have booked it that way with a draw finish because I think a decisive win for Big E would have been fine. Perhaps WWE has something in mind for Crews where he complains about the draw and that leads to him becoming a heel, but I don’t know if that’s the plan for him or if he would even be good at it. Anyway, Big E winning was not a surprise here. The match was fine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8dEWS5EEMI

Adam Pearce was shown talking on the phone. Sonya Deville showed up wearing a blue suit and black tie saying it’s a new year and a new her. Sonya talked about the last year being crazy, she split from her former best friend, then lost a Loser Leaves WWE match (to Mandy Rose) and now her friend has another tag team partner on Raw. Sonya said that she is grateful and happy for the opportunity on Smackdown. Sonya mentioned Pearce putting himself in a match tonight, Pearce said he hasn’t had a match in six years and no more matches for him.

This week on Raw: Drew McIntyre faces Randy Orton again. Plus, the follow up to Goldberg challenging McIntyre to a WWE Title match at Royal Rumble.

(Commercial)

Thank you Smackdown for the plug for the NFL game on Fox on Saturday featuring my LA Rams and the heel Seattle Seahawks on Saturday afternoon. Go Rams.

Bianca Belair was about to be interviewed about the Royal Rumble when Bayley showed up to interrupt. Bayley asked how many people Belair eliminated last year with Belair telling her it was 8 while Bayley noted that she wasn’t in the match because she was defending her Smackdown Women’s Title due to her amazing title reign. Bayley said she is going to be in this year’s Royal Rumble. Belair fired back at her saying she was going to win, but she can’t challenge Bayley for the title because Bayley is no longer the champion. Belair left.

Analysis: I think both women are legitimate threats to win the Women’s Royal Rumble. I’m not sure who will win the Women's Rumble. I know Belair is a favorite right now. I just think WWE may go back to the Bayley/Banks rivalry because they haven't had a match at WrestleMania before, so maybe that's what we'll see this year.

A Progressive Match Flo replay aired of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode attacking The Street Profits to set up the title match this week.

The Street Profits made their entrance with the announcers wondering how Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins can be 100% healthy (especially Ford) after the attack last week. They got the red solo cups joining them for their entrance.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage scene with Carmella sitting on a chair with a glass of champagne. Carmella was in a tight black dress while her sommelier Reginald stood behind her. Carmella trash-talked Banks by mentioning that Banks was named Sports Illustrated’s Wrestler of the Year. Carmella bragged about pinning Banks last week and said that Sasha can’t touch her. I guess that’s because Carmella claims she is untouchable.

Analysis: It was just a simple promo from Carmella. I thought the feud was over, but Carmella pinning Banks in a tag team match last week means that it might continue.

Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their entrance with what looked like matching “Dirty Dawgs” jackets.

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

Dawkins with a dropkick on Ziggler. Ford tagged in for a double team shoulder tackle. Ford was grabbing his left knee right away because that’s he was selling after the attack last week. Roode and Ziggler were in matching pink gear with Roode in trunks and Ziggler in tights with the “Dirty Dawgs” logo. Ford tried to fight back against Roode with punches, then Roode did a shot to the knee. Ford with a punch that knocked Roode off the apron to the floor and Ford with an elbow on Ziggler on the floor. Ford ran the ropes leading to an incredible somersault dive over the top onto both opponents. When Ford got up, he stumbled down the floor because of the storyline knee injury. Dawkins and the referee Jessika Carr checked on Ford as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Dawkins battling Roode in the ring while Ford was moving slowly on the floor. Dawkins with a suplex on Roode followed by an overhead suplex. Dawkins with a spinning splash on Roode along with a bulldog for a two count. Dawkins didn’t tag out because he saw Ford was hurting. Ziggler tagged in with a dropkick for a two count. Ziggler gouged the eyes of Dawkins leading to Roode getting in a cheap shot punch after Ziggler was talking to the referee. Roode was back in with a kick to the ribs followed by a neckbreaker for a two count. Ford was too hurt to try to break up the pin as Roode taunted him a bit. Roode sent Dawkins into the turnbuckle, Ziggler tagged in, Dawkins moved out of the way of an attack and Dawkins sent Roode out of the ring. Dawkins crawled over to Ford, Roode went after Ford, but Ford sent Roode into the barricade. Dawkins kicked Ziggler away and Ford tagged in against Ziggler with Ford hitting two clotheslines. Ford with a kick to the ribs and a backhand that didn’t connect yet Ziggler sold it. Roode with a charge into the ring, Ford got rid of him and Ford hit a discus lariat (Luke Harper tribute) for a two count. Ford slowly climbed to the top rope, Roode grabbed the leg briefly and Ziggler grabbed Ford and drove him to the mat with a top rope X-Factor for a two count with Ford kicking out at the last moment. Ford was selling, Ziggler charged and Ford hit a superkick for two as Roode broke up the pin. Dawkins sent Roode out of the ring. Ford tried to get to Dawkins, who had to deal with Roode and then Ziggler knocked Dawkins off the apron into the barricade. Ford hit a sunset flip on Ziggler for two. Ziggler with a chop block to the left knee and Roode tagged back in with a Fisherman’s Suplex (Perfectplex) for a two count. Ford got out of a DDT attempt with an enziguri kick. Ziggler tagged back in and Roode hit a spinebuster into a Zig Zag by Ziggler and Ziggler pinned Ford to win the Smackdown Tag Team Titles after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good tag team match with Ford doing an excellent job of selling the left leg injury while Ziggler/Roode were aggressive in attacking the left leg the whole match. I thought maybe they should have tried some submission moves on the left leg, but Ziggler and Roode aren’t really known for being submission wrestlers. I just think a few submission attempts would have worked. Anyway, the Street Profits had a very long title reign, so I’m fine with a title change with Ziggler/Roode looking like they are committed to being a regular heel tag team. That’s cool with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foNorV8en34

Post match, Ziggler and Roode knocked the former champions out of the ring and Ziggler/Roode celebrated as the new champions.

Adam Pearce was in the office with Sonya Deville talking about who might get the next title shot at the tag team champions. They mentioned other possible tag team title matches against Otis/Gable or the former champions getting a rematch.

Paul Heyman showed up, shook Sonya’s hand she left. Heyman talked to Pearce saying he likes him. Heyman mentioned the name “Scrap Daddy” Adam Pearce, which is what Pearce used in his wrestling career. Heyman talked about how this current job is not what Pearce dreamed about. Heyman said that he pulled some strings, so now Pearce is in the match tonight and it’s courtesy of the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Pearce didn’t seem thrilled about it.

Analysis: Pearce is a former NWA Champion that is 42 years old now and retired six years ago as he mentioned. Pearce also was a wrestler/booker for Ring of Honor in his career. A lot of WWE fans might not know that, but he was a pretty good wrestler in his career.

The Gauntlet Match is next with Adam Pearce is in the match along with the five wrestlers already mentioned.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: The month of January means that it is Royal Rumble time in WWE land, so I’m re-posting my reviews of every Royal Rumble event in WWE history. I’ll post them all before this year’s event on January 31. I’m also planning on a couple of columns/list articles before this year’s Royal Rumble as well. The reviews I have posted so far are 1988, which was not a PPV but it’s the first Royal Rumble so I’m including it. That was won by “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. After, it was onto Royal Rumble 1989 (won by Big John Studd), Royal Rumble 1990 (won by Hulk Hogan while he was WWF Champion), Royal Rumble 1991 (won by Hulk Hogan again) and Royal Rumble 1992 (won by Ric Flair to become WWF Champion for the first time) that had what is arguably the greatest Royal Rumble match of them all. There’s also Royal Rumble 1993 (won by Yokozuna), Royal Rumble 1994 (the tie finish with Bret Hart/Lex Luger), Royal Rumble 1995 (Shawn Michaels wins as the #1 entrant) and Royal Rumble 1996 (Shawn Michaels wins it again). I’ll be posting at least one review per day and sometimes two per day, so keep visiting TJRWrestling daily to check out the reviews. I’m proud of the fact that I have detailed reviews of every Royal Rumble. Thanks for the support!

There was a replay of Billie Kay celebrating with the Riott Squad after they won their match last week.

The Riott Squad duo of Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan were talking backstage, Billie Kay showed up to talk to them as if she wanted to join their Squad. The Riott Squad didn’t want Kay to join them, so Kay did some fake crying, Liv/Ruby said something to try to make her happy and Kay took it to mean like she was in the group. Kay left to celebrate while Riott noted that Kay actually wrote “mosh-pitting” on her resume.

Analysis: This is a weak and goofy storyline. Smackdown has some good stories a lot of the time, but this is not one of them.

Rey Mysterio entered with his son Dominik to start the Gauntlet Match with six wrestlers. Sami Zayn showed up with a documentary camera crew because he said when he found out there was a Gauntlet Match, he demanded that he was in. Zaid complained about how it was a conspiracy that he was starting this match. Zayn said that he’s going to beat Rey and all the other guys in the Gauntlet because Sami Zayn is undeniable.

Gauntlet Match #1: Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn

Mysterio with a dropkick that sent Zayn into the ropes, Mysterio hit the 619 on Zayn and then Rey went up top with a Frog Splash to defeat Zayn in about one minute.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: Poor Sami Zayn. I liked his IC Title reign, but now he’s too much of a whiny heel that isn’t going to get booked that well.

Shinsuke Nakamura was up next in the Gauntlet Match as a former Royal Rumble winner in 2018 just like Rey won the Royal Rumble in 2006. That match is next.

(Commercial)

Gauntlet Match #2: Rey Mysterio vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Nakamura got a shoulder tackle, Mysterio came back with a headscissors out of the ring and Nakamura hit a knee to the face. Mysterio avoided a knee on the floor, Nakamura hit the floor and Rey slid out of the ring into a sunset flip on the floor. Nakamura hit a running knee on Rey on the floor for a two count. Nakamura with a running kick to the head for two along with a knee drop for two. Nakamura to the middle rope for a superplex attempt, Mysterio fought back with headbutts and Mysterio jumped off the top with a seated senton. Mysterio with a running senton and a roll through into a pin attempt. Nakamura with a kick while Mysterio was on the apron, Rey jumped over the top and they messed up a bit leading to Rey hitting a headscissors near the ropes. Nakamura was up against the ropes, Mysterio hit the 619 and Rey went up top for the Frog Splash, but Nakamura got the knees up. Nakamura slapped on an armbar with Mysterio tapping out to give Nakamura the win. This went about six minutes.

Winner by submission: Shinsuke Nakamura

Analysis: This was okay. They messed up that spot where Nakamura was supposed to catch Rey on his shoulders and Rey would turn it into a headscissors, but they were able to move on from on it and set up for the finish. Nakamura winning is fine with me because I want to see him getting a push in singles again. I like Rey too, though.

After the fall, King Corbin showed up to attack Dominik from behind and threw him into steel steps. Corbin threw Nakamura into the ring post to send him out of the ring. Corbin drove Mysterio back first into the turnbuckle followed by Chokeslam. That meant Corbin was next in the gauntlet.

Analysis: Corbin had a recent feud with Rey Mysterio, so that’s why he attacked him and Dominik to lightly re-ignite that rivalry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqDSwdlDyCY

(Commercial)

The match began during the break.

Gauntlet Match #3: King Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Corbin worked over Nakamura with elbows along with a clothesline for a two count. Corbin charged, Nakamura moved and Corbin went shoulder first into the turnbuckle near the ring post. Nakamura kicked Corbin out of the ring. Nakamura jumped onto Corbin on the floor, which led to Corbin driving Nakamura back first into the ring post and that led to a two count for Corbin. There was a belly to back suplex by Corbin for a two count. Nakamura with kicks to the body, Corbin caught the leg and Nakamura hit a jumping kick to the face. Corbin charged, Nakamura moved and Corbin hit the turnbuckle. Nakamura jumped off the middle ropes with a kick to the chest for two. Nakamura charged, but Corbin caught him with the Deep Six slam for two because that’s what that move usually gets for Corbin. Nakamura with a triangle choke submission, but then Corbin did a Powerbomb to counter. Corbin slid out of the ring and then he slid back in with Nakamura hitting a Kinshasa knee strike for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura

Analysis: That was a really good finish with Nakamura finishing off Corbin during Corbin’s “slide back in” spot that we see him do every match. I think it’s smart to have somebody beat Corbin doing that spot because I don’t think they’ve done that before, but that tells the audience that Corbin is vulnerable in the future. Anyway, good to see Nakamura picking up wins.

Daniel Bryan made his entrance as the next man in the gauntlet with that match set to take place after the break.

(Commercial)

The match started when they returned from the break.

Gauntlet Match #4: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Daniel Bryan

Bryan with a running kick and forearms on Nakamura, who is working his third match in a row. Bryan sent Nakamura on the floor, but when they got back in the ring, Nakamura kicked Bryan when Bryan tried an attack off the ropes. Nakamura with an overhead suplex. Bryan wrenched on the left leg of Nakamura in a half crab submission, which led to an Ankle Lock and Bryan transitioned into a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Bryan worked over Nakamura with the Yes Kicks to the body and Nakamura with a kick of his own leading to an armbar submission attempt. Bryan got out of the armbar leading to Bryan going for an armbar, but Nakamura got out of that, so Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock submission with Nakamura fighting his way towards the ropes to break the hold. Bryan wrenched on Nakamura’s left elbow, then set up Nakamura on the turnbuckle and Bryan tried a hurricanrana, but Nakamura blocked it, so Bryan hit the mat. Nakamura with a jumping kick for a two count. Bryan avoided a kick, then Bryan with a kick and Bryan countered an armbar into a pin attempt for two. Bryan worked over Nakamura with repeated punches and kicks to the body along with a roundhouse kick to the head. Bryan with the running dropkick against the turnbuckle, then another running dropkick against the turnbuckle, but Nakamura exploded out of the corner with a Kinshasa on Bryan for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura

Analysis: That was a lot of fun. I’m only doing a rating for the whole Gauntlet, but I think that seven minutes of action was around ***1/4 or so by two of the best wrestlers of the last 20 years. I’m sure if they had a longer match it would be even better. I figured Bryan would get the win there although I guess this is WWE turning Nakamura back into a face as a singles wrestler. That’s cool with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mopZXEfrO_4

After the fall, Bryan got up and shook Nakamura’s hand as a sign of respect.

Roman Reigns made his entrance with Jey Uso and Paul Heyman as they stood on the ramp with the show going to a break.

(Commercial)

The show returned with Reigns still on the stage with cousin Jey Uso and Paul Heyman.

Adam Pearce made his entrance wearing a WWE jacket along with sweatpants and sneakers. Graves talked about how Pearce has competed in the past around the world, but he’s in a suit now. Cole mentioned that Pearce wasn’t good enough to be in WWE during his career.

Jey Uso got in the ring with Shinsuke Nakamura and he beat on Nakamura with punches. Reigns beat up Nakamura with punches, kicks and headbutts. The bell did not ring. Reigns and Jey beat up Nakamura some more with Jey hitting a superkick while Reigns hit a Superman Punch. Jey Uso went up top and hit an Uso Splash on Nakamura. Reigns left the ring and told Pearce that Roman does what he wants to do because this is his show. Reigns sent Pearce in the ring and told Pearce to do his job. Jey nailed Pearce with a superkick. Reigns called for the bell, so the bell rang.

Gauntlet Match #5: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Adam Pearce

The match began with Jey putting Pearce onto Nakamura with Pearce hurting after the superkick. The referee was reluctant to count the pin, but Reigns told him to do it and the referee counted. Pearce got the win in about 15 seconds.

Winner by pinfall: Adam Pearce

Analysis: *** That’s the rating for the whole Gauntlet Match. I think it was very useful in terms of likely turning Shinsuke Nakamura into a babyface singles wrestler again and I would love to see Nakamura get his revenge in the future. As for Pearce winning, as soon as he was announced for the match, that’s what I expected.

Reigns held up the Universal Title in the ring with cousin Jey and Paul Heyman standing by his side as the announcers made sure to mention that Pearce will challenge Reigns for the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble on January 31. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: This means Reigns vs. Pearce for Universal Title and McIntyre vs. Goldberg for WWE Title at the Royal Rumble. WWE knows the Royal Rumble matches are the draw at the Rumble PPV and they know fans will think Reigns isn’t losing, so that’s why they are going this route. I don’t love it. I think it’s a way to get some heat on Roman Reigns although beating a retired wrestler that the average WWE fan doesn’t know is something that I doubt most people would have expected.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIpHysituWA

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Shinsuke Nakamura
  2. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode
  3. Street Profits and Roman Reigns

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2021 Average: 7.13

 

Final Thoughts

It was a pretty good Smackdown show as usual. I doubt many people watching this show would have expected WWE Official Adam Pearce winning the Gauntlet Match to earn a Universal Title match against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble, but that’s what happened. Shinsuke Nakamura had a great showing this week with Gauntlet Match wins over Rey Mysterio, King Corbin and Daniel Bryan before he got his ass kicked by Reigns and Jey Uso. I think this episode did a tremendous of turning Nakamura back into a babyface singles wrestler that fans will want to see as a challenger against Reigns. That should be fun. Reigns facing Pearce at Royal Rumble is a way to get heat on Reigns because he manipulated the situation for his benefit. Fans care about the Rumble matches the most at the Royal Rumble PPV, so it’s okay to try different stuff like Reigns vs. Pearce where it’s heavy on storyline. I’m mostly happy because of how this booking helped Nakamura. It’s good for him long term.

I really liked the Tag Team Title change with Ziggler/Roode beating Street Profits because of Montez Ford selling that knee injury so well. They built up the injury last week and then followed it up this week with the crafty, veteran heels becoming the champions. Big E beating Apollo Crews was okay too although I don’t like the draw finish leading to a restart, but maybe that’s done to turn Crews heel. I don’t know if that’s where it might go.

There was a lot of in-ring action after the 20-minute opening promo from Reigns and Pearce. The women’s division wasn’t featured much at all aside from a few backstage promos.

The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 31. Here’s what we know so far:

30-Men Royal Rumble Match

30-Women Royal Rumble Match

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Adam Pearce

Drew McIntyre defending the WWE Title vs. Goldberg is likely, but it’s not official yet.

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Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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